Big Diamonds

fuFurman University (near Berea SC ) has the distinction of once having three athletic nicknames. Prior to 1961 the football program was known as the “Hurricane,” the baseball team the “Hornets,” and the Basketball team as the “Paladins.” In the fall of 1961 it was decided by a vote of the student body that all athletic teams would be known as the “Paladins.” Furman’s depiction of a paladin would be that of a knight typically riding a horse. This is one of Furman’s early Paladin symbols. You may also be interested in a rather crass but funny urban legend concerning the origin of the Furman Univerisity Christian…uh nickname.

The most enduring symbol of the Furman is known as the “Diamond F.” The Diamond F was designed by a Furman an assistant football coach named Dick Sheridan and first used on a helmet in 1973. Sheridan would later become the head coach and make a slight change to the helmet in 1978. In 1986 Sheridan left Furman to become the head coach at NC State, and brought his diamond fixation with him. What’s interesting (to me) is that the diamond really has nothing to do with a Paladin or a pack of wolves.  It has more of a philosophical meaning. From this interview Sheridan states:

The diamond represented the combination of toughness and class, and that is what we wanted our program to be. Diamonds are used to cut steel, and yet they are a symbol of class and excellence… We had the diamond at Furman and I brought that to NC State.

NC State would later drop their version of the Sheridan diamond but Furman would eventually adopt the Diamond as the primary logo for their entire athletic department, but not without some minor inconsistencies.

I am always on the look out for color photos especially of the 1962 chess piece. If you have any info send me a note.